Greek soccer game delayed as players pay respect for dead refugees

A second league Greek soccer game was delayed after all 22 players, as well as coaches and bench players, sat where they were in silence for the first two minutes in protest of Turkey and the European Union for not caring and showing respect to Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have lost their lives trying to obtain a better life.

As Friday’s game between AEL Larissa and Acharnaikos kicked off, everyone on both teams sat down in a predetermined plan to pay respect while the PA announcer explained the situation to the crowd, who displayed a round of applause and then joined in on the silence. The PA announcement read:

“The administration of AEL, the coaches and the players will observe two minutes of silence just after the start of the match in memory of the hundreds of children who continue to lose their lives every day in the Aegean due to the brutal indifference of the EU and Turkey.”

“The players of AEL will protest by sitting down for two minutes in an effort to drive the authorities to mobilise all those who seem to have been desensitised to the heinous crimes that are being perpetrated in the Aegean.”


Greece has become one of the friendlier places toward accepting refugees from war torn places like Syria and Iraq. But while Greece has been accepting of refugees, it remains incredibly dangerous to get to Greece. This weekend, a boat containing refugees capsized, killing at least 37 people as they tried to get to the Greek Aegean Islands.

While this sit-in will not solve the situation in Greece and the Middle East, it at least keeps this serious situation in the consciousness of the public. There may not have been as many news reports about refugees as a month or two ago, but there are still refugees leaving their homelands and risking their lives to try and achieve a better life. These players are making sure this stays in people’s minds.

[The Guardian]

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp